Sears Selling Kenmore Appliances Through Amazon
With its huge inventory of toys, tools and firearms, it toppled local retailers. With its catalog-type model and its delivery systems that was nationwide, Sears at one time promised to bring everything to people’s doorstep.
However, the announcement earlier this week between Sears and Amazon illustrates that times have changed. Attempting to win back customers that were lost to rivals online, Sears will start selling its lineup of Kenmore appliances on Amazon.com.
That includes its smart appliance that users can sync with Alexa the voice assistant from Amazon. The new partnership will start in Los Angeles prior to expanding into other markets.
It is a move that is seen by many as a step forward for the retailer that first opened its doors 124 years ago and a further acknowledgement of its current predicament. Sears has closed over 250 of its namesake and Kmart stores across the U.S. and said in March that substantial doubt existed if it could remain an operating entity.
The deal shows Sears is trying to reach a broader customer base, which helped to send its shares surging up over 10.5% in Thursday trading.
On strategist on Wall Street said this was the first bit of real good news for Sears in years.
However, the deal also shows that the best chance of the ailing retailer to survive might be partnering with its fiercest rival.
One analyst said the move was not a lifeline for Sears, but the company has to do more to reinvent itself or it will be finished.
He added that Sears was the pioneer of paper catalogs, as the first tech of its time that allowed people to make their order from anywhere and they were also the first to offer electronic catalogs, but their thinking became too narrow as they only sold their own products, while Amazon raced past them by offering products from everyone.
Sears CEO and Chairman Edward Lampert has touted the new agreement as the way to substantially expand the availability and distribution of the Kenmore brand across the U.S.
Kenmore is one of the most recognizable brands from Sears and earlier in 2017 Sears announced the sale of Craftsman tool brand for $900 million to Stanley Black and Decker the tool maker.
For Amazon, the addition of the Kenmore line of products gives its huge potential to enter one market it has not participated much – large household appliances.